25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes (2024)

If you’re a cook who hates waste, you’ll love these thrifty and tasty leftover bread recipes.

Give that sad leftover loaf a new lease on life with handy meals to satisfy both your taste buds and your budget.

25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes (1)


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All good cooks know that sometimes stale bread is better than the fresh stuff.

Yes, those final, dried-up slices are ideal for soaking up rich sauce, adding crunch to casseroles, and giving texture to hearty stews.

I’ll bet there are even a few on the list that’ll surprise you. Anyone up for French toast casserole? How about savory bread pudding?

So keep those crumbs because here are 25 unique and tasty ways to make the most of your loaf.

1. Leftover Bread Croutons

The easiest way to save old bread from the bin is to turn it into crunchy croutons.

With a quick turn in the oven, stale bread becomes crispy golden cubes. To store, just pop them in the freezer where they’ll stay good until needed.

Scatter them on a salad, sprinkle over soup, or just keep on hand as a quick and easy snack.

2. Spinach and Bacon Breakfast Strata

A strata is an egg casserole, much like a quiche but without the crust. It’s a great idea for brunches, lunches, or light dinners.

Here, roughly chopped stale bread gives heft to a salty, creamy casserole that can be made ahead for quicker prep.

3. Buttery Herb Stuffing

Stuffing is a true classic. This traditional version takes it back to basics with plenty of butter, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs.

One for holidays, family feasts, and fancy dinners. As a bonus, leftovers can be mixed intoscrambled eggs for a low-maintenance breakfast hash.

4. Italian Breadcrumbs

Homemade breadcrumbs are a pantry staple in my house because they’re so versatile.

Keep a jar on hand and you can quickly transform boring meals into dinner-party-worthy dishes.


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This mix combines bread with classic Italian flavors like parsley, oregano, and basil.

Unlike store-bought breadcrumbs, they’re free from additives and/or preservatives.

5. Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

Panzanella is a traditional Italian salad where bread plays a starring role.

Perfect for summer get-togethers, it’s a healthy vegetarian treat bursting with fresh flavors.

In this recipe, chunks of artisan bread are toasted until golden brown and crispy.

They’re then tossed in an Italian vinaigrette with tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

6. Italian Sweet Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is one of life’s great comfort foods.

This simple, but decadent, version combines dense chunks of bread with a creamy egg sauce.

As it bakes, the bread soaks up the rich custard until sweet and gooey.

Serve with warm cinnamon brown sugar sauce, ice-cream, or both. You do you.

7. Pita Chips

Most of us run to the store when we’re out of chips, but it’s worth making your own if you can. It’s easier than you might think, according to this DIY recipe.

Bread is brushed with oil, sprinkled with herbs, and baked until it hits just the right amount of crunch.

Healthier than fried, vegan, and highly snackable, these pita chips are a great potluck favorite or game day appetizer.

8. Gruyere, White Cheddar and Kale Strata

Spinach and cheese stratas are great, but sometimes you want to upgrade the ingredients for something special.

That’s where this gooey, salty, creamy casserole comes in. Healthy kale, tangy gruyere, and melted cheddar are thrown together and baked.

The result is a mouth-watering mix, ideal for when you have a hungry crowd over for brunch.

25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes (2)

9. French Onion Soup

If you think soup is boring, you haven’t tried this rich, fragrant French onion soup.

It’s loaded with soft, silky onions, topped with crusty bread, and finished off with masses of melty cheese.

The only thing better than eating French onion soup is eating Julia Child’s classic French onion soup.

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10. Garlic Parmesan Baked Eggplant

Bread is the secret ingredient in this recipe, adding a flavorful, crunchy topping to roasted eggplant.

In this easy recipe, eggplants are coated in breadcrumbs, parmesan, and garlic, giving them that just-fried taste without the greasy mouth feel.

Serve as an appetizer, side dish or main course. This is an extremely versatile dish that’ll soon make it into your regular rotation.

11. French Bread French Toast

The French are widely regarded as master chefs, and it’s easy to see why with dishes like French toast on the menu.

Here, stale French bread is used for this indulgent favorite. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla give it a festive flavor.

And if you really want to celebrate, add a dash of rum to make things interesting!

12. Baked Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

A vegetarian spin on the popular chicken parmesan, this comforting casserole will wow both the veggies and the carnivores in your life.

Eggplant is layered with marinara sauce, two types of cheese, and fresh herbs before being topped with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs and baked.

It’s filling, healthy, and a great big-batch meal. Freeze any leftovers so you can quickly defrost dinner on hectic weeknights.

13. Italian Bread Soup Recipe (Pappa al Pomodoro)

Popular in Tuscany, Italian bread soup showcases the best fresh Italian herbs and veggies along with crusty bread to soak up the rich broth.

With a pot of this on the stove, the kitchen will smell like heaven. And you’ll be drooling long before dinner gets to the table.

14. Crostini

This recipe is a crash course in how to make your own crostini from the comfort of your kitchen.

Even beginner bakers will love this easy DIY take on a classic side. And once you have your crostini, the sky’s the limit.

Smear it with relish, turn into bruschetta for a wow-worthy appetizer, or just keep it on hand for dips and salads.

15. Parmesan Garlic Bread

Bread doesn’t get any better than this. Buttery, cheesy, and irresistible, parmesan garlic bread is a must next time you’re serving soup or entertaining guests.

A good garlic bread recipe goes a long way, and this is one you’ll come back to again and again.

16. Ham and Cheese Savory Bread Pudding

Ok, bear with us. Yes, bread pudding is typically a dessert. Yes, this is a savoury version.

This recipe rips up the bread pudding rule book to turn stale bread into a richly-flavored casserole.

You can call it pudding, brunch, breakfast or dinner. We just call it delicious.

17. Ribollita

Ribollita is a Tuscan bean stew, scented with traditional Italian seasonings.

This vegetarian staple uses day-old bread to add bulk, turning it into a thick winter warmer or satisfying summer treat.

You can make this one on the stove-top or throw everything together in the slow cooker for a more hands-off meal.

Don’t forget the parmesan when you’re ready to serve. A dusting of cheese on top takes this from good to great.

18. Apple Brown Betty

If you’re wondering what a brown betty is, it’s similar to a crumble or a crisp.

The big difference is that instead of a classic oat or nut-based topping, this casserole uses toasted bread for the crunchy crumb.

Baked with apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, it’s joy in a casserole dish.

It’s perfect for long winter evenings, cozy family get-togethers, special occasions, or those dessert-for-dinner days.

19. Banana Bread Pudding

This inventive recipe takes all the things you love about classic bread pudding – the sweet, creamy sauce and soft cake-like bread – and adds banana for fruity flavor.

Spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s a gorgeously decadent dessert.

If you’re serving it for a special occasion, drizzle with warm caramel sauce and prepare to become everyone’s favorite host.

20. Stuffing Muffins

If you’ve never baked stuffing muffins, you’re in for a treat. Not only are they fun to say, but they’re also moist, crumbly, and delicious.

Serve as a side at Thanksgiving or Christmas (or both!) and feel free to customize – adding cranberries, sausage, jalapenos, or cheese for extra amounts of yum.

21. Baked French Toast Casserole

Long, lazy weekends need decadent brunches. And this French toast casserole is a must for those sleepy Saturdays where you just need something sweet and filling.

The crispy caramelized topping perfectly balances the sweet, gooey centre. It’s a surprisingly low-maintenance meal.

Bake ahead or prep the night before because lots of flavor don’t have to mean lots of work.

22. Bread and Butter Pudding

The great thing about this pudding recipe is you can use whatever stale bread you have on hand.

It can be white bread, dinner rolls, or hoagie buns, and the result will still be the same scrumptious butter pudding.

I personally follow the recipe to a tee but skip the raisins if you’re not a fan.

23. Blueberry French Toast

If you’re imagining a classic French toast with blueberry sauce on top, this recipe is much more than that.

Here, the custard mixture itself is incorporated with blueberry sauce, ensuring that each bite of toast bursts with the berries’ sweet, fruity flavor.

24. Leftover Bread Breakfast Casserole

No one has the time to make French toast for a crowd… or so you’d think.

Why painstakingly pan-fry bread slices one after another when you can just bake up one giant French toast in a casserole?

It’s just as delicious, but 5 times easier.

25. Easy Egg Breakfast Casserole

Loaded with meats, veggies, and cheeses this egg breakfast casserole sure is a crowd-pleaser.

If you’re looking for a versatile recipe you can easily customize to suit what ingredients you have on hand, this is the one.

Prepare this casserole the night before and pop it in the oven the next morning. It’ll be ready to devour after you shower.

25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes (3)

25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes

These tasty leftover bread recipes will give new life to your day-old loaf! From croutons to stuffing to bread pudding, you’ll love these easy dishes.


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  • Prep a leftover bread dish in 30 minutes or less!
25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes (4)

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25 Easy Leftover Bread Recipes (2024)


What to do with a loaf of bread? ›

Leftover bread recipes
  1. Bread & butter pudding. We'll start with the classic. ...
  2. Crusty bread salad. Panzanella is a much-loved Italian bread salad that typically pairs ciabatta, ripe, juicy tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and peppers. ...
  3. Veggie bread bake. ...
  4. Breadcrumb topping. ...
  5. French toast. ...
  6. Croutons. ...
  7. Toasties. ...
  8. Burgers.

What to do with expired bread? ›

10 Smart Ways to Get More Life Out of Your Stale Bread
  1. Breadcrumbs. DIY breadcrumbs are super easy to make and always useful to have on hand. ...
  2. Croutons. Croutons are the perfect accompaniment to soups & salads. ...
  3. Panzanella Salad. ...
  4. French Onion Soup. ...
  5. Fondue. ...
  6. Bread Pudding. ...
  7. French Toast. ...
  8. Panade.

What to do with failed bread? ›

But if it tastes good, then you can make bread crumbs and/or croutons with it. Bread crumbs are useful for coating foods that will be fried e.g. chicken or fish. You can add bread crumbs to ground meat to make meatballs more tender, and also to soups and sauces to make them thicker. Preheat your oven to 300F.

How do you not waste stale bread? ›

Moisten your bread under cold water, without soaking it. Bake it for about 5 minutes on the oven rack. The bread will be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, just like fresh bread! We advise you to eat it quickly and not to wait for the next meal.

Should I throw stale bread? ›

As you fill your trash and recycling bins, keep one exception in mind: Under no circ*mstances should you throw out any stale bread. Stale breads are the faded belles of glorious loaves past. In their prime, they are tender and golden, piping hot from the oven and swirling with yeasty steam when broken apart.

What can I do with leftover bread in a bakery? ›

Day-old bread is often used to make bread crumbs and if the bakery is also a cafe, the bread is sometimes used to make bread pudding or frittatas.

What do restaurants do with bread? ›

Bread taken from a table is usually thrown away, since at the end of the night restaurants usually have more unused bread leftover than they can turn into croutons or breadcrumbs.

Can I eat 2 week old expired bread? ›

Bread will generally become stale past its expiration date, but it's still safe to eat. If it's moldy, toss it out.

When should I not eat expired bread? ›

Bread. Bread will generally become stale past its expiration date, but it is still safe to eat. If you want to extend the life of your bread even longer, store it in the fridge or freezer. If you spot any bits of mold, toss it.

What bread takes the longest to expire? ›

Dense rye breads and seeded breads also have a longer shelf life.

What can I do with tasteless bread? ›

If Your Bread Is in the Oven

Once your bread has cooled, feel free to lightly coat the crust with salted butter. The butter will melt into the crust and add a little flavor to your bread. Or, dip your bread into stew, chili, or soup. The bread will soak in the flavor of your meal.

Can you use dough that doesn't rise? ›

If your bread dough doesn't rise, you can still use it and fix it by changing up the temperature or mixing in more yeast.

What happens if you don't knock back bread? ›

If the dough isn't punched down, the carbon dioxide will continue to be released, which can cause big, uneven air pockets in your bread. Additionally, if you don't knock back the dough, it can lead to a weaker gluten structure, meaning your bread may not maintain the desired shape.

How long can you leave bread out to stale? ›

Commercially baked breads and rolls can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 4 days or 7 to 14 days in the refrigerator. Bread products retain their quality when stored in the freezer for 3 months. Any breads containing meat or hard cooked eggs must be refrigerated within 2 hours.

Does microwaving stale bread help? ›

All you need to do is place your bread inside a damp paper towel, and microwave it on a plate for 10 seconds. The water will revive the starch molecules in the bread's flour, the reaction between the two will occur again, and you'll have your soft bread back.

Why does toasting stale bread make it better? ›

The browning is the result of a Maillard reaction altering the flavor of the bread and making it firmer. The firm surface is easier to spread toppings on and the warmth can help butter reach its melting point. Toasting is a common method of making stale bread more palatable.

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